“The only real stumbling block is fear of failure. In cooking you've got to have a what-the-hell attitude.” ― Julia Child

Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Chish-A-Fips Again

What sort of food blogger would I be if I were not to give a big shoutout and warm welcome back to my friends Jamie and Liz Entwistle, who are the owners of St. Michaels Fish and Chips! I say welcome back because, if ya didn't know, they have been busy since October moving into their new premises (the St.Michaels Post Office, of which Liz is the new postmistress. The right-hand side of the building is now the chippy) and doing it up, ready for business. Including the car park, which they improved and expanded. As a thank you to all their loyal customers for waiting so long for their favourite chippy to reopen, Liz and Jamie are offering half-price fish and chips today and tomorrow. I nipped in there at lunchtime and purchased some noms for myself, Laura, and Josh, and they are as good as ever, if not better. Well done to you both!! Get in there and grab yourself some, people. You won't regret it.

Monday, January 30, 2012

Name This Food: C'mon Guys...

...you're not even trying. The last Name This Food! asked what this was...

and despite its slightly odd appearance, I cannot believe that none of you even took a guess. This is that favourite dish beloved of most people over the age of about 2 - PIZZA. Yes, pizza. I know, the ingredients look a little unfamiliar, but there it is - some kind of meat, cheese and veg on top of a round of dough. Pizza.

OK, I made it tough because it would have been way too easy if I'd just used a shot of a Domino's or Papa John's. Speaking of which, all you American types that are fancying a visit here to the British Isles - we have Papa John's here. Yes. I mean, we've had Pizza hut and Domino's for years, but I was taken aback when I came back two years ago (has it really been two years? Yes folks, it has) and saw a Papa John's not far away in Ashford. But I digress. Would you like to have a recipe for the best and yummiest pizza dough ever? Wouldya? Huh? Of course you would. I found this recipe years ago in a copy of Woman's Day. What was I doing reading Woman's Day, you ask? Never you mind. OK, I'll fess up. I was clipping recipes. In my frilly apron.
OK, the best thing about this recipe is that it's freezable. Just pop the dough into a Ziploc and freeze for up to three months. I did this very successfully. I made some memorable (this had to be about 1995 - yes, that memorable) calzones and a huge veggie pizza with this the first time round and it was fab. OK, here's the link... http://www.womansday.com/recipefinder/easy-pizza-dough-recipe-120432

So, now I have to decide on the next Name This Food! food. Hmmm.

Name This Food!

eat @ the Stade

Last week we had occasion to visit the sunny seaside resort of Hastings-by-the-Sea. Of course, it being January, it wasn't very sunny. In fact it was overcast, very cold and windy. But did that dampen our spirits? Did it heck! Not only did we have a jolly whizzy time investigating all the shops in the Old Town, after an hour or two we were downright hungry. As chance would have it we stepped into the shelter of a place known as...

What a lovely place this is. Friendly service, which can make or break a dining establishment, was much in evidence. It was clean and light and airy, and the menu was full of interesting food and good information. Pretty much everything is locally sourced, locally grown, free range... even the margarine they use is vegan.

And so the food came out. I had ordered the veggie version of the full English...

Two eggs, rye toast, hash brown, sauteed mushrooms, beans, veggie sausage and  veggie bacon.  A lot of people I know personally would not eat veggie bacon purely because it sounds wrong. My approach with veggie versions of meat is to treat it not as if it is pretend meat, but as if it is a whole new food that tastes a bit like meat. Much better approach.
Sis had the ham, egg and chips, which came with a side salad. Nice.

Laura's burger was epic. So epic, in fact, I had to take two pictures of it.

They ran out of chips while making her food, so they brought out a bowlful a bit later.
Lovely cheesy bacon burger.
 For those that are unfamiliar with Hastings, The Stade is a shingle beach, situated in Hastings Old Town. It has been used for beaching boats for over a thousand years, a use which continues to this day: it is now home to Europe's largest fleet of beach-launched fishing boats.
The word ‘Stade’ is an old Saxon term meaning "landing place", and dates from before the Battle of Hastings in 1066.
It was originally a small landing area, hence the small footprint of the net shops. However, the building of the 1887 groyne at Rock-A-Nore and the 1896 harbour stopped the eastward longshore transport of shingle along the coast, which is the function of groynes. As a result, the Stade steadily grew out to seaward, providing new room for the fishing fleet and many amenities. A car, coach and lorry park was built at The Stade and eat@ The Stade is adjacent to the new Jerwood Gallery, both of which appeared after the demolition in 2010 of Tom's Cabin, an old place that sold ice creams and candy floss to summer visitors for many years.

The interior, as I said is light and airy and spacious.

And the coffee? Well, it's damn good. That counts for a lot in my book.

Can't wait to go there again and try some more menu items... maybe something from the specials board next time.

Dark Chocolate Mocha

Caffe Nero, Dark Chocolate Mocha. That is all.

Soup of the Day

It was a rainy day in Tenterden and Laura and I were not only feeling damp and a bit cold, but also in need of some sustenance. We were, as you might say, a bit peckish. So we stopped into Zest (which I've mentioned before in these hallowed digitally-created pages) for a light bite. We both plumped for the soup of the day, a very yummy leek and potato with a fine selection of breads, and decided to also split a serving of some of the chippiest chips ever. Quite delicious and satisfying!

If you're in Tenterden and you're feeling a little esurient (Google it, people), look no further. Tenterden has some lovely eateries and among the best is Zest. Delicious stuff.

Worry No More, Coeliacs

These days the problem of gluten intolerance is becoming more and more prevalent, it seems. Years ago nobody had even heard of it, but lots of people were getting sick or feeling just lousy all the time and no-one knew what the heck it was all about. Then research into food allergies revealed just how widespread this particular problem was. Trouble was if you wanted to find gluten-free foods you had to go to freaky little out-of-the-way health food shops and oddball grocery stores (I kinda prefer those, frankly - they make shopping for groceries into an adventure). My friend Jeremy, whose celiac (or coeliac if you're British - we like that Latin spelling) disease was diagnosed a few years back, used to order his gluten-free stuff in bulk from Amazon. Then you started to see these kinds of things on your regular supermarket shelves - just a few at first, then more and more, until now you go into Tesco and there are two whole sections of wheat-free and gluten-free foods, and as you can see by the pics below, it isn't all hippie food - there's lots of chocolatey thingies too. Take a gander. Click on the pics to see them full size.

Well done, Tesco. I for one salute you.

Saturday, January 14, 2012

Get Corny Now

So like I said, it's been a while, and folks, I haven't forgotten - Name This Food  needs to be continued. I just cannot leave you all hanging. Of course I am sure most of you knew the answer -  it's good ol' CORN.

Corn, or to be technically correct, maize, is a grain which has been domesticated and grown from prehistoric times. And no wonder - it's dead easy to grow, and simple to prepare, and wonderfully versatile. I mean, I could go on and on about what can be made from it or with it, but I'd probably be preaching to the choir. As a plant it is the most widely grown crop in the Americas.

In fact, it is so easy to grow you can even grow your own. That's what I'm planning to do this year. No land? You can grow it in a big container on your patio. C'mon, I dare you to do it. It's pretty much foolproof, so why not? What's stopping you?

I'll just leave you with the next poser...

Name This Food!
Oh... and Kooshti Sante!

We Be Gammon'

Oh Gawd, I am seriously slacking. It has been weeks since I put anything on the blog. I wouldn't want you all to think I'd somehow given up, quit, gone and left you for some other blog somewhere, it's just been a combination of factors - a deadly combination at that, of too much other stuff to fill my head, too many distractions (damn you Angry Birds!) and a serious case of can't-be-arsed.

So let's start off the New Year with a food review shall we?

Now, I've been to the White Lion a good few times since the blog's inception and made mention of it often. However, I am gonna do it again simply because I went there the other day and despite the 2 for £10 menu being conspicuous by its absence, we hooved heartily on some fine noms and it didn't break the bank.

This was on the 30th December and people were there in force, still having big get-togethers that they hadn't managed to squeeze into the rest of 2011, so the place was busy. We didn't have any trouble getting a table though, and so we perused our fine choices.

Now I am not the sort of person that decides ahead of time what I am in the mood for - I just know when I want to eat. I know some people will choose an eaterie purely based on what they feel like eating, but I cannot narrow it down like that. I'm wide open when it comes to making a dining choice. Wherever I go to eat, I look at the menu and can narrow it down to at least three or four options before the wait-person turns to me and gives me that look that says, "Whattya want mister?". The challenge then is to make a snap decision and not make them wait forever. Luckily, though, I had made my drink decision early, and ordered a pint of Redbreast Ale.

Laura had decided on a burger, but not just any burger. The Lion does two burgers - the Classic, which even though it's just a basic burger is no slouch - it's always frickin' huge for a start - and The Works, which has everything on it, including bacon and mature Cheddar, and comes with a side salad, chips, onion rings and onion relish. Massive, and she struggled with it a bit.

Myself, I had narrowed it down to three items and blindly picked one, which was a good move - the 10oz Horseshoe Gammon Steak, which comes with chips, a fried egg and a slice of roasted fresh pineapple. Now personally I like the pineapple, but I know some people loathe it. I am also aware, having lived in the States for a considerable number of years, that Americans may be scratching their heads and saying - "What is Gammon Steak?"

I know you can't see the chips, but trust me, there's a huge mound underneath that big slab of Gammon.
Well, as you might have guessed, the word Gammon comes from the old Northern French word  jambe, meaning leg, referring to the hind leg of the pig. That's right, we're talking ham here. Gammon steak is a thick cut slice of whole ham, which in this case was grilled (to perfection, I might add) and laid on top of a big mound of fries (beautifully cooked also). The fried egg was just heavenly, not too done, nice runny yolk, and the roasting of the pineapple brought out the sweetness just nicely.

Now I know the Lion is in the habit of changing its menu quite often, but this baby is usually a mainstay. Unsurprisingly.

A definite four and three-quarter yums out of a possible 5!


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